Graeme Souness has pointed the finger at the "ordinary players" at Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo's performances against the so-called bigger teams.
The 36-year-old has evolved his game since leaving Old Trafford in 2009 and has established himself as a poacher transitioning from the tricky winger of years gone by.
Against Liverpool and Manchester City, he cut a frustrated figure in both defeats as he failed to make an impact and in the draw with Everton, the Portugal captain stormed down the tunnel after the full-time whistle.
United are in a rut in terms of form, winning just once in the last two months, leading to some claims around his impact at the club.
Ronaldo has been subjected to some criticism for his performances so far this season but irrespective of his age, he still has 10 goals in 14 appearances and has netted in each of the Reds' five Champions League fixtures.
Souness doesn't believe he can match the physical peak that is required in the English top-flight and has lost elements of power and strength.
‘I’d have taken Cristiano Ronaldo all day long, but I’d also have had a honest conversation with him: “You’ll get plenty of game time, but you won’t be starting every game.” Souness told the Times.
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‘I still can’t think of a better impact sub, but he’s no longer the player he was — you just can’t be at 36. He may look magnificent when he takes his top off, but you lose power and strength.
‘I’d also have said: “I’m looking for you to teach these young guys about turning up on time, looking after yourself and training properly, to be the example that takes this club back to greatness."
‘He can still give you all that, but he’s not going to be the go-to man every Saturday, certainly not against the stronger sides. Against Liverpool and Manchester City, he never got a kick because he’s playing with ordinary footballers.’
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